Buying a sewing machine.

Help! I have no idea what I'm doing! Let's see if we can make buying a sewing machine less chaotic. First determine what you want it for? Do you need something cheap to get by or are you in it for the long haul? Do you want to eventually quilt and embroider or just sew? Who will be using the machine? 
If you are wanting a cheap machine I'd recommend:
*Posting on Buy Nothing groups- often people will give their machines away for free! There's always a gamble with what you will get, but chances are it works great and you scored a deal! Google the brand of machine prior to picking it up sometimes a quick tuneup from a local sewing machine shop is all you need. Tune-ups have run under a hundred dollars for me. I get one every year. If you notice your machine doesn't seem to run as smoothly and it's not a threading issue, generally this is the next step. I don't recommend trying to clean it yourself! And always avoid canned air if you do get adventurous and see lint floating around that can ruin your machine. 
*Check local Facebook Marketplace, Craigslist and second hand stores. 
Wait for special shopping days to get a good deal. Places like Savers and Goodwill will offer military and senior deals. Amazon and Joanns often hold nice sales as well especially around the holidays. 
My go to shop for combo machines (sewing, quilting and embroidery) is:
Marie's Sewing Center
6599 S Transit Rd, Lockport, NY 14094
I picked up my last machine used from them.  Check to see if they have any trade-ins. Allow yourself some time to play around before you buy. I appreciated the time they gave to help me learn the ins and outs of the machines. It also came with a one year guarantee and training on how to use it! If you aren't in the Western New York area check your local sewing shop. Local shops often allow trade ins. 
What brand should I buy? 
I would recommend a common brand mainly out of quality and being able to service it. Brands like Singer, Brother, Pfaff, Janome and Baby Locke are all good. 
*Not a huge investment in case she didn't inherit the sewing genetic or broke it!
*Easy to thread and figure out 
*Push buttons! (If you can find push buttons for threading it's a lot easier for kids vs the dial turning ones) 
*Cheaply made. Her spool holder has already broke with minor use. 
*It can't handle bigger projects. The mouth area (where the fabric fits in as you sew) is narrow. 
*Limited stitch options. 
Another option would be borrowing from a family or friend. As a nice gesture you could always get it tuned up for them prior to returning. 
Some other factors to consider:
Machines may require specific needles and bobbins so check to see if they use only their brand or any universal brand like Schmetz or Singer. 
*A machine that accepts all brands of needles is a lot easier to work with when you need to replace one!*
How close a sewing machine repair shop is to you? Simply Google the name of your machine in your area. Example: Singer Sewing Machine Repair Shop near Lewiston, New York. If you can't find something call your local sewing shop they may have leads to independent contractors that service machines for them.
Hope this helps! If you have any additional tips and/or questions let me know :) 

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